Hally’s in Parsons Green

Good morning!
I’ve found a great place for you to try. It’s one of those places you don’t really want to share, but I like you, so I’ll let you in on it.
Hally’s is a new California inspired hangout in Parsons Green. There’s a coffee bar for an early morning with the paper, communal tables for an afternoon sprawled out with work and tables in the back for a catch up with friends.
www.alessandrabrian.comI was drawn in one weekend by the delicious looking pastries displayed home-style on the bar. This little guy was feeling pretty sorry for himself as he wasn’t allowed any whilst his Dad slowly sipped his coffee.
www.alessandrabrian.com Wouldn’t you be?
Pearl & Groove Cakes have such darling packaging and yummy flavours like coconut, rum & lime, blueberry & white chocolate and earl grey. www.alessandrabrian.comWe were seated in the back, surrounded by trinkets and objects the owner has collected from local markets.
My brunch date and I were sufficiently starving by now, and thoroughly looked forward to our brunch arriving whilst we chattered away. Lucky for us, the portions are definitely American sized and we struggled* to finish it all.

www.alessandrabrian.com Omelette of chorizo, roasted pepper & spring onion with watercress and sourdough
www.alessandrabrian.comChilli & coriander corn fritters with streaky bacon, avocado, poached egg and creme fraiche www.alessandrabrian.com *Don’t worry, we persevered and successfully cleaned our plates

I’d definitely recommend their weekend brunch or popping in for breakfast during the week. It’s a lovely atmosphere and delicious food.

Afterwards, we walked off our small feast nipping in and out of shops until I found this beauty. The perfect casual Sunday hat.
www.alessandrabrian.comDo you have any good bird jokes or puns? Leave them in the comments, I love a bad joke. But keep it clean, I don’t want any fowl play.

The Providores & Tapa Room

I’m going to tell you about my new favourite brunch spot in London.

You may have already heard of Peter Gordon’s The Providores & Tapa Room, as it’s not exactly a new kid on the block. But if you, like me, have added it to your foodie bucket list and haven’t gotten around to it yet – I’m here to tell you, GO!

Go now.
Go tomorrow.
Okay maybe book for this weekend after a little lie in, but go!

We pushed past Christmas shoppers and fought against the winter wind down Marylebone High Street to arrive at the warm, little haven that is the Tapa Room.
A crowded café with banquettes lining the wall and communal style, tall tables filling the centre of the room.

It feels very LA and incredibly welcoming – the kind of place you could catch up over a coffee or munch away with a book.

We squeezed past the pastries and freshly made muffins lining the counter and headed up the stairs to The Providores, the restaurant’s formal half. Here we sat down to brunch, where there is an incredible menu filled with innovative takes on brunch classics as well as wild creations begging for me to try.

So we ordered three of the wild ones, and shared.
Naturally.

The Providores & Tapa Room Turkish eggs from Changa restaurant in Istanbul – two poached eggs on whipped yoghurt with hot chilli butter and sourdough or seeded granary toast.
This dish was phenomenal. A little taste of Turkey for breakfast which I could happily indulge in every morning.
The Providores & Tapa Room French toast stuffed with banana and pecans with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup.
This tasted every bit as decadent and naughty as it looks.
The Providores & Tapa Room The Providores & Tapa Room Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline.
This was my favourite dish by far, which says a lot considering I loved them all. The flavour combinations were strange, but married perfectly in each bite.
This is the dish you come back for. Promise me you’ll order this when you go?
The Providores & Tapa RoomThen onto dessert.
Don’t look at me like that…
Don’t all perfect brunches end with dessert? And how could I possibly turn this down?

The Providores & Tapa Room Mint, white chocolate filled Original beans 70% Virunga chocolate fondant with umeboshi, pineapple salsa and coconut sorbet.
See!? Could you say no to that?
The Providores & Tapa Room We certainly didn’t. The Providores & Tapa RoomThe Providores & Tapa Room was an amazing check off the foodie bucket list. This would be the perfect place to pop in whilst finishing up your Christmas shopping on Oxford Street or to go with friends to catch up on your weekend adventures.

Speaking of Christmas shopping, what’s the coolest gift you’re giving this year? I need some inspiration. You can always tweet me ideas @Alessandra_LDN …. #helpme!

Brioche French Toast with Vanilla & Orange Zest

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been celebrating my birthday.
To start my birthday off right, I obviously needed a delicious, decadent breakfast.
I absolutely adore French Toast and have enjoyed many variations of the dish. One of the my favourites was at a Victorian Post Office turned Bistro tucked into a corner of Bethesda, Maryland called Black Market Bistro. I decided this would be the perfect breakfast treat and duplicated the recipe with a few twists of my own.

The best part of French Toast is that you can use any type of bread you like, and it will still taste delicious. I used brioche to make my French Toast extra decadent, but feel free to use anything from sourdough to challah. The bread should be at least one day old because the older it is, the better it holds up once being submerged into your mixture.

Ingredients:
2 slices of delicious bread of your choice
1 large egg
1 dash of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brown sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 orange to zest
knob of butter
maple syrup
optional: scrape in some vanilla beans to make it that much more decadent

Directions:
1. Add your egg, milk, vanilla, sugar, half the orange zest, and salt to a bowl and beat together until well mixed.

2. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat, and add a knob of butter to coat the bottom of the pan. You could use nonstick spray, but this is decadent French Toast, not diet French Toast.

3. Place a slice of brioche into your egg mixture and allow the bread to soak for about 10 seconds. Flip the bread and soak the other side for the same amount of time, and squish it slightly to ensure maximum soakage.

4. Place the egg soaked brioche onto your heated pan and cook on both sides until golden brown. About 1-2 minutes per side.

5. Plate your golden brown French Toast and zest more orange over the top. This gives an incredible citrus flavour to cut the sweetness of the French Toast. Drizzle some maple syrup over the top and eat immediately.
As if you could wait and resist this decadent, simple masterpiece.

Happy Birthday to me! Enjoy!